Women 1st, the initiative that aims to increase the number of women in senior roles across the tourism and visitor economy sector, has suggested that hospitality businesses need to do more to retain and attract female workers if the industry is to avoid the UK’s impending ‘workforce cliff’.
The comments back up a statement issued by chief people officer for McDonald’s Europe, David Fairhurst, earlier this week, urging UK businesses to focus on getting more young people into work, offer opportunities to older workers, and invest in training and development for their people, or risk faltering economic growth. His statement followed European Commission figures indicating that the European workforce will begin to shrink by approximately 0.5 percent per year from 2021 onwards.
Simone Roche, director of Women 1st, agreed with Fairhurst’s comments and said it’s particularly important that the hospitality industry focuses on attracting and retaining more women:
“In hospitality in particular, we know that attracting and retaining women can make a huge difference to the workforce challenges we face.
310,000 leave hospitality each year
“Our research shows that 310,000 women leave the hospitality industry each year. If they stayed, it would save the industry approximately £2.8bn in replacement recruitment and training, and there’s no doubt that it would go a long way towards addressing this rapidly approaching ‘workforce cliff’.”
Practical actions to stem women leaving the workforce
Simone said that there are a number of practical actions businesses can take to help stem the flow of women leaving the workforce.
“One of the biggest barriers for women is the difficulty in balancing work with caring responsibilities, so offering flexible working options can have a huge impact. Lack of visible female role models is another barrier, so running mentoring schemes with senior women can be a brilliant way to make sure women feel supported and aspire to stay in our industry.
“Training is also critical for both men and women. When people feel valued and their skills are being invested in, they are less likely to leave.
“McDonald’s itself is a fantastic example of a company investing in developing its women – and its solutions work. Jill McDonald, president of McDonald’s Europe’s North West division, spoke at our annual Women 1st conference in 2012 and said the company had seen a 36 percent increase in women working in senior management positions after implementing networking and training programmes for female staff.
“By following McDonald’s example, other businesses can put themselves in the best position for growth in the future.”
The Little Book of Diversity
To help businesses that want to retain and develop women, Women 1st has published a book that includes practical tips, guidance and case studies from leading global brands. The Little Book of Diversity – A Practical Guide to Supporting Women in the Workplace can be purchased at www.women1st.co.uk/lbd
Click here for the statement issued by chief people officer for McDonald’s Europe, David Fairhurst, earlier this week.
About Women 1st
Women 1st is the thought leadership, training and mentoring programme for the UK’s visitor economy. It was developed by People 1st, the leading skills and workforce development charity for employers in the hospitality, tourism, leisure, travel, passenger transport and retail industries.
Whilst nearly 60 percent of the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism workforce is female, only six percent of director level positions are held by women. In the passenger transport industry, women make up just 25 percent of the whole workforce. Since its inception in 2009, Women 1st has supported over 1,000 women and its programmes are available throughout the United Kingdom.
For more information click here